Pros and cons of BFing baby to sleep.

Kunang - posted on 01/06/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )




I think I've been reading too much about how to "properly" get my baby to sleep. It feels natural to BF her to sleep, nursing is obviously designed to comfort her and to help her sleep. But the majority of what I'm reading is telling me that she will NEVER learn to go to sleep on her own if I don't teach her. I find it a bit over the top to say that she'll never learn. Having said this, don't nurse her to sleep every time, its just an option if shes not settling, so I know she can go to sleep without it. I should also note that I'm planning to BF until she naturally weans, shes now 4 months and that I strongly disagree with the "cry it out" method.

Personal experiences, regrets, advice, ideas etc etc are all welcome!
Thanks ladies!


Minnie - posted on 01/06/2011




My personal experience:

It's easy (most of the time, lol, until you hit 12 months or so)

It's more cuddle time and baby luuuuvs it

More good milk into babe-prolactin levels are highest during the night, keeps milk production efficient

I believe it is what nature intended- no odd mistake there are soporiphic hormones in human milk or that sucking puts babies to sleep

Cons: the only one I can think of for me is that sometimes as the baby gets older and more aware (for us it starts around 12 months) it can involve lying down for longer than I want to. But honestly I think that when this happens for us it just means I haven't been paying attention to other behavior- like her needing naps earlier in the day, shorter naps, not too much activity before bedtime, etc.

All in all, I am continuing to nurse my 27 month old to sleep every day as long as she wants to. But more and more I see her needing to nurse less to sleep. Sometimes she chooses to go to sleep without nursing.

I'm not sure that one can sit there and make a blanket statement that a child will NEVER learn to put themselves to sleep if you nurse...seriously? Nursing to sleep is not a new phenomenon. It's been done for as long as humans have been on this planet. And most manage to sleep as adults.

Rosie - posted on 01/06/2011




i think what you've described is perfectly natural and great. it only becomes a problem when YOU deem it a problem. eventually they'll go to sleep without being breastfed, but it may take longer. if you don't mind that it will take longer than no sweat, if you do mind, than i think the ferber method is fabulous for children over 6 months, but since you aren't into that, then i say just keep on doing what you're doing. it'll come eventually whenever your baby is ready.

[deleted account]

i bf gabby to sleep, never used cio and she goes to sleep all on her own now. Its natural, the milk is SUPPOSE to help them to sleep. It was my favorite feeding too :P

Johnny - posted on 01/06/2011




I often breastfed my daughter to sleep, right up until I weaned her at 23 months. It felt like it was the natural thing for me to do, it relaxed me, lead to calm bed times, and frankly, now I miss the long cuddles a bit. I completely agree with what the other ladies here have said. My daughter is now 29 months and climbs into her own bed, lays down, gets her kiss and goes to sleep on her own. No nursing, no fuss, no bother. She did it when she was ready and I have not experienced any cons from nursing her to sleep. Reading Loureen's post, it just makes me want to have another one so that I can do it all over again.

Hailey - posted on 01/06/2011




i fed both my children to sleep, almost every time and for naps too. I was used as a human dummy, Year sure it was frustrating sometimes but i didnt know how to do it anyother way without making them cry. How old is your baby? When they are little it is easy to think they will never learn to sleep without the breast, i used to get quite scared and think oh what have i done they are never going to learn (i didnt have circle of mums then or any friends with kids) I didnt know it was natural. I used to feel quite lazy but now know it didnt have to be hard, i wasnt lazy, just doing it the most natural easiest way for our family. Hope this helps, i wont tell you how old they were when they managed to fall asleep themselves and wean themselves because it might seem too far away lol. They are 4 and 3 now though.

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Charlie - posted on 01/06/2011




I love when they are asleep , just off the boob but their little mouth and tounge are still sucking away .

Minnie - posted on 01/06/2011




*picturing warm squishy faced just off to sleep and nipple fell out of mouth babe*

How could one NOT want that? Lol.

Krista - posted on 01/06/2011




It's not that she'll never learn, but more that it will be harder. Breastfeeding is more than just nourishment. It's physical, emotional and mental attachment.
With my first baby, I didn't breastfeed long because of health issues. I also used the CIO method because NOTHING and I mean NOTHING else worked. But, it wasn't just leaving him to cry. It was a gradual thing.
My second is nearly 6 months now and I'm still breastfeeding. I don't know when I'll stop yet. I don't have a definitive time. Sometimes she falls asleep while breastfeeding. Other times she doesn't. Sometimes she's tired and not hungry at which time I just put her in her crib and she falls asleep. It seems as though she's never had a problem with falling asleep and being able to put herself back to sleep on her own.

It's so funny that my kids are SO completely different. I think the extended breastfeeding for my second child has caused her to be calmer. It's the only way I can explain it.

Bonnie - posted on 01/06/2011




aww Loureen, I remember those days! :-( I need another baby.
I use to breastfeed my son to sleep. IMO it's pretty difficult not to. They get so cozy and content.

Sarah - posted on 01/06/2011




You should do WHATEVER it is that works for you & your daughter. If that means BF her to sleep, then you should continue to do that. I bottle fed my son during the majority of his infancy & I fed him/rocked him to sleep every single night. It's what worked for us. I also strongly disagree with the "cry it out" method. Don't let anyone discourage you from what you feel is right. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. :)

Mother - posted on 01/06/2011




I BF my daughter to sleep all the time. My spouse was a truck driver and never home. I only put her in her bed when he came home (he was afraid he'd roll onto her) If she woke up in the night I was able to BF without feeling exhausted or disturbed. I loved it. We co-slept tho. i know some people frown upon that but it worked for us. Even now if my husband is working out of town my daughter and I will have a slumber party.

Ez - posted on 01/06/2011




Keep doing what you're doing Mumma :)
Ignore the 'parenting' books that say what you are doing is in some way detrimental to your baby. As long as it feels right (and you say it feels natural) then there is no reason for you to change your methods.

I will also echo some of the other ladies and say the idea that a baby who is BF to sleep will never learn to self soothe is untrue and ridiculous. It may not happen on the parenting books' schedule, but it will happen when baby is ready for that transition.

Tara - posted on 01/06/2011




I let my babies (all six of them) nurse to sleep whenever they chose, which was most of the time! We also co-sleep with them when they are little, at about 12-18 months they move into their own room with a double mattress on the floor so I can still go crash with them should they wake up to nurse.
I did have to nurse them to sleep for naps, which is harder to do with other kids around, but we all got used to it, had our routines, the other kids had stuff to do when I was "putting Riley down" (family joke, the kids always joke that I'm not really 'putting him down' just putting him to sleep)
No regrets here, all mine weaned at about 2.5 years old and I still laid down to nurse them to sleep, after they weaned we just cuddled in bed together.
All in all, do what feels natural and instinctive. I parent by instinct, we are mammals after all. :)

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If you don't nurse her to sleep everytime.... she already knows how to fall asleep on her own. ;) What you are doing is perfectly natural and normal.

Shauna - posted on 01/06/2011




My baby never fussed to eat ever, so i just offered for him to nurse every 2 hrs, and he usually did, so he didnt always nurse before bed. I just put him in his crib at the same time everynight and he never fussed just put himself to sleep.

Charlie - posted on 01/06/2011




I breastfed my babies to sleep , no cons here :)

Saying they will never fall asleep on there own is a load of crap although it may be true for some I know a lot of women who have done this and never had an issue , it was and is natures way of comforting them into sleep .

I loved that the last thing we did before he slept was breastfeed , we would sit in a quiet room and enjoy the bonding experiance until he was full and sleepy and his little eyes will slowly close as he unlatches and a tiny bit of milk dribbles down his cheek , so sweeet !

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